Two black women won important Supreme Court decisions for civil rights in the late 1940s.
In 1947 Irene Morgan refused to sit in the section designated for African Americans at the back of a bus going from Virginia to Maryland.
After hearing her case, the Supreme Court declared segregation on interstate transportation illegal.
In 1948 Ada Lois Sipuel (later Fisher), an Oklahoma resident, was turned down by the state’s only law school (the University of Oklahoma) because she was an African American.
Backed by the NAACP, she took her case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that states must give black and white students equal educational opportunities.
When she started classes, however, she was told to sit in a chair marked “colored” in a special roped-off section.
Undeterred, she got her law degree in 1951, and some forty years later was invited to serve on the governing board of the University of Oklahoma.